Best Camera Lenses

By Staff

These days, most cameras are so good that it can be tough to choose between them. For interchangeable lens cameras like DSLRs and mirrorless, it often comes down to which lenses are available. After all, the best camera isn't worth much if it's got a crummy lens on the front. In that spirit, we've gone ahead and collected the best lenses that we've tested to date. Most of them are locked into specific camera mounts—Canon for Canon, Nikon for Nikon, etc.—but if you're looking to start from scratch, finding a system with a great lens isn't a bad place to start.

Updated October 12, 2016

10.0 score Tested by Experts

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM A

Sigma's ART series lenses have quickly built a reputation for exemplary image quality, killer craftsmanship, and best-in-class value for the money. The 50mm f/1.4 is the pick of the litter, capable of astounding image quality, sharpness, and bokeh. It's a little bigger than other 50mm f/1.4 lenses, but it's available for Canon and Nikon DSLRs and goes toe-to-toe with any lens those companies have right now.

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Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

For any photographer looking to capture small objects, such as jewelery, bugs, or just fine details, you'll need a macro lens. If you're a Canon shooter, there's no better option than the 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro. It's razor sharp, offers image stabilization, and it has a superb close focal distance that also works as a dandy portrait lens in a pinch. For less than $800, it's a teriffic investment for Canon fanatics.

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Where to Buy
Amazon $799.00 Buy
Adorama $799.00 Buy
Best Buy $799.99 Buy
Walmart $739.00 Buy

Panasonic Lumix G Leica DG Nocticron 42.5mm f/1.2

If you've bought into the Micro Four Thirds system (or are thinking about it), the 42.5mm f/1.2 Nocticron is as good as it gets. It's a telephoto portrait lens with creamy smooth bokeh and quality co-signed by Leica. It's a little big for a mirrorless lens, it's one of the best lenses we've ever tested and a must-own for any mirrorless shooter with the cash to burn.

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Where to Buy
Amazon $1,397.99 Buy
Adorama $1,397.99 Buy
Walmart $1,397.99 Buy

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.8G

If you're shooting a Nikon DSLR and you want a top-notch portrait lens, it's hard to do better than the AF-S 85mm f/1.8G. While the pricier f/1.4 has smoother bokeh and shallower depth of field, the f/1.8 arguably has better image quality, is cheaper, and is lighter. It's a perfect storm of portrait goodness that outperformed the 85mm f/1.4 in our lab tests, and at under $500 it won't break the bank, either.

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Where to Buy
Amazon $476.95 Buy
Adorama $476.95 Buy
Best Buy $479.99 Buy
Walmart $409.00 Buy

Fujifilm Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R

Fujifilm is playing by its own rules these days, debuting pro-grade cameras and riding high from the popularity of its Instax instant film cams. But if you're invested in Fujifilm's X-series cameras, the 56mm f/1.2 lens is as good as it gets. With creamy smooth bokeh and a focal length perfect for portraits, this lens is ideal for professional photographers of all stripes. It's pricey, but man is it worth it.

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Where to Buy
Amazon $999.00 Buy
Adorama $999.00 Buy
Best Buy $999.99 Buy
Walmart $976.04 Buy

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